Old Hastings Ward Councillor James Bacon has launched a poetry competition after being re-introduced to his Great-Uncle’s poetry book on Hastings Old Town, ‘Boyhood Impressions’.
Cllr Bacon’s Great Uncle, Sam Bacon, was born in the Old Town of Hastings on June 2, 1918 and spent his childhood growing up in and around the Bourne. Sam described the Old Town as, ‘a palace with a character of its own, filled with a host of wonderful characters’.
James says in 1990 his uncle Sam produced his poetry book with a prime reason. “To keep the pre-war memories of the Hastings Old Town alive and for the future generations, like myself, to enjoy,” he said. “Due to this recent discovery of Hastings Old Town poetry and the joy it has given me, I am pleased to announce that I am organising a Hastings Old Town poetry competition for all to enter, child and adult alike.
“It is really simple to enter and all you need to do is write a poem based on Hastings Old Town, these can be your memories or experiences.”
The winner will receive a certificate and prize and have their poem printed in the Observer and Parish news. To enter either email: firstname.lastname@example.org or post to: Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 3UY. Include your name and contact details with your poem entry. The competition deadline is ‘Hastings Day’ Friday October 14.
James added: “I look forward to reading your poems and hope to eventually compile a 21st Century Book of Hastings Old Town poetry for all to enjoy.
“I have the privilege to share with you one of uncle Sams poems, also titled with the same name for the ward I represent: Old Hastings.”
I remember my childhood when just a wee lad,
Living down in the Old Town with my Mum and Dad.
Those were the days when halfpennies were spent,
On stickjaw and liquorice, but not during Lent.
My Dad, a fishmonger, like his father before,
Called loudly his wares along the seashore,
His voice could be heard in streets high and low,
‘Fish all alive – all alive o.’
The beaches in summer were a joy heaven sent,
When trippers in thousands came flocking ‘til spent.
‘Anymore for the skylark and a trip ‘round the bay,’
Or a swim to the harbour on a nice sunny day.
There were boats of all sizes, both speedy and slow,
Whelk stalls, bubbles and a Punch and Judy show.
Joyrides with ‘Biddy’, the old man in the tub
And searching the town for that ‘Lobby Lub.’
The launch of the lifeboat was a grand sight to see,
Hauled by cart horses racing down to the lea
And the brave seamen’s shouts as they waved their farewells,
When they tossed in the surf and heaved in the swells.
At night time ‘the prom’ and the pier blazed with light,
Over fun fairs and dancers from dusk ‘til daylight,
Yes, my town in the valley, twixt east as west hill,
My Hastings, my Old Town, where the sea’s never still.
Written by Sam Bacon.
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